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Hinesville man among those indicted for illegal firearms possession, drugs
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Nine defendants are among those facing federal charges including drug trafficking and illegal possession of firearms after separate indictments by a grand jury in the Southern District of Georgia, while recent actions in U.S. District Court include guilty pleas and criminal sentences related to illegal gun possession. 

The indicted cases are being investigated as part of Project Safe Neighborhoods in collaboration with federal, state and local law enforcement agencies, including the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF), the FBI and the Drug Enforcement Administration, to reduce violent crime with measures that include targeting convicted felons who illegally carry guns.

“The fight against violent crime continues to be an intense focus of our office and of our law enforcement partners,” said David H. Estes, U.S. Attorney for the Southern District of Georgia. “A key part of that fight is our effort to remove guns from the hands of those who are prohibited from possessing them – particularly in the case of previously convicted felons.”  

In the past four years, more than 760 defendants have been federally charged in the Southern District of Georgia for illegal firearms offenses – most often for possessing a firearm after conviction for a previous felony.

Defendants named in federal indictments from the July 2022 term of the U.S. District Court grand jury include one person from Hinesville.:

William McCrae Jr., 43, of Hinesville, Ga., was sentenced to 87 months in prison followed by three years of supervised release after pleading guilty to Possession of a Stolen Firearm. McCrae admitted possessing a .38 caliber revolver that he knew was stolen when he was arrested during a traffic stop in February 2019 by Liberty County Sheriff’s deputies. McCrae has prior felony convictions in state court for armed robbery and firearms possession, and was on state probation at the time of his arrest.

Agencies investigating these cases include the ATF, the DEA, the Georgia Bureau of Investigation, the Savannah Police Department, and the Richmond County Sheriff’s Office.

Under federal law, it is illegal for an individual to possess a firearm if he or she falls into one of nine prohibited categories including being a felon; illegal alien; or unlawful user of a controlled substance. Further, it is unlawful to possess a firearm in furtherance of a drug trafficking offense or violent crime. It is also illegal to purchase – or even to attempt to purchase – firearms if the buyer is a prohibited person or illegally purchasing a firearm on behalf of others. Lying on ATF Form 4473, which is used to lawfully purchase a firearm, also is a federal offense. 

For more information from the ATF on the lawful purchasing of firearms, please see:


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